Uruguay

Uruguay

Overview
Uruguay ,
officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,
sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay;
reˈpuβlika oɾjenˈtal del uɾuˈɣwai) is a country in the southeastern part of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 and its metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

. An estimated 88% of the population are of European descent.

Uruguay's only land border is with Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state in Brazil, and the state with the fifth highest Human Development Index in the country. In this state is located the southernmost city in the country, Chuí, on the border with Uruguay. In the region of Bento Gonçalves and Caxias do Sul, the largest wine...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, to the north.
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Timeline

1807   A British military force, under Brigadier-General Sir Samuel Auchmuty captures the city of Montevideo, then part of the Spanish Empire now the capital of Uruguay.

1811   Battle of Las Piedras: The first great military triumph of the revolution of the Río de la Plata in Uruguay led by Jose Artigas.

1825   Uruguay declares its independence from Brazil.

1828   Uruguay is formally proclaimed independent at preliminary peace talks brokered by Great Britain between Brazil and Argentina during the Argentina-Brazil War.

1865   The Empire of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay sign the Treaty of the Triple Alliance

1919   Uruguay becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.

1967   Uruguay becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty.

1973   The President of Uruguay dissolves Parliament and heads a coup d'état.

1977   The military-controlled Government of Uruguay announces that it will return the nation to civilian rule through general elections in 1981 for a President and Congress.

1991   Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay sign the Treaty of Asunción, establishing Mercosur, the South Common Market.

 
Encyclopedia
Uruguay ,
officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,
sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay;
reˈpuβlika oɾjenˈtal del uɾuˈɣwai) is a country in the southeastern part of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 and its metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

. An estimated 88% of the population are of European descent.

Uruguay's only land border is with Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state in Brazil, and the state with the fifth highest Human Development Index in the country. In this state is located the southernmost city in the country, Chuí, on the border with Uruguay. In the region of Bento Gonçalves and Caxias do Sul, the largest wine...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, to the north. To the west lies the Uruguay River
Uruguay River
The Uruguay River is a river in South America. It flows from north to south and makes boundary with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, separating some of the Argentine provinces of the Mesopotamia from the other two countries...

 and the estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 of the Río de la Plata
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

 to the southwest. To the southeast lies the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean. With an area of approximately 176000 square kilometres (67,954 sq mi), Uruguay is the second-smallest nation in South America by area, after Suriname
Suriname
Suriname , officially the Republic of Suriname , is a country in northern South America. It borders French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south, and on the north by the Atlantic Ocean. Suriname was a former colony of the British and of the Dutch, and was previously known as...

.

Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of around 22,000.It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site...

, one of the oldest European settlements in the country, was founded by the Portuguese
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 in 1680. Montevideo was founded by the Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 in the early 18th century as a military stronghold. Uruguay won its independence in 1811–28 following a three-way struggle between the claims of Spain, Argentina and Brazil. It is a constitutional democracy, with a president who is both the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

.

Uruguay is one of the most economically developed countries in South America, with a high GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 per capita and the 48th highest Human Development Index in the world as of 2011, and the first by human development in Latin America, when inequality is factored in. Uruguay is also noted for its low levels of corruption, being ranked by Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

 as the second least corrupt country in Latin America (behind Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

). Its political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent. It was the highest rated country in Latin America on Legatum's 2010 Prosperity Index. Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest is a general interest family magazine, published ten times annually. Formerly based in Chappaqua, New York, its headquarters is now in New York City. It was founded in 1922, by DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace...

 ranked Uruguay as the ninth "most livable and greenest" country in the world, and first in all the Americas. Uruguay is ranked highest in Latin America on the Global Peace Index.

Uruguay was the first South American country to legalize same-sex and different-sex civil union
Civil union
A civil union, also referred to as a civil partnership, is a legally recognized form of partnership similar to marriage. Beginning with Denmark in 1989, civil unions under one name or another have been established by law in many developed countries in order to provide same-sex couples rights,...

s at a national level, and to allow gay adoption. Uruguay and Bolivia were the only countries in the Americas which did not go into recession
Recession
In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity. During recessions, many macroeconomic indicators vary in a similar way...

 (2 consecutive quarters of retraction) as a result of the Late-2000s financial crisis
Late-2000s financial crisis
The late-2000s financial crisis is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s...

.
In 2009, Uruguay became the first nation in the world to provide every school child with a free laptop and internet. It was the first nation in the Americas to test hemp
Hemp
Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...

 cultivation. Uruguay is reimbursed by the UN for the majority of its military spending, because the majority of its military is deployed as UN peacekeepers.

Etymology


Translated into English, República Oriental del Uruguay becomes Oriental Republic of Uruguay; The Eastern Republic of Uruguay; or the Republic East of the Uruguay. The last is actually the only correct literal translation, as it is named after its geographic location to the east of the Uruguay River. Because of the ambiguity in its meaning when translated, the government of Uruguay normally uses simply Uruguay in English.

The etymology of the Uruguay River
Uruguay River
The Uruguay River is a river in South America. It flows from north to south and makes boundary with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, separating some of the Argentine provinces of the Mesopotamia from the other two countries...

, coming from the Guaraní language
Guaraní language
Guaraní, specifically the primary variety known as Paraguayan Guaraní , is an indigenous language of South America that belongs to the Tupí–Guaraní subfamily of the Tupian languages. It is one of the official languages of Paraguay , where it is spoken by the majority of the population, and half of...

, is uncertain, but the official meaning is "river of painted birds".

Early history and colonization


The only documented inhabitants of Uruguay before European colonization
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

 of the area were the Charrúa
Charrua
The Charrúa were an indigenous people of southern South America in the area today known as Uruguay and southern Brazil. They were a nomadic people that sustained themselves through fishing and foraging...

, a small tribe driven south by the Guaraní of Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

.

The Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 arrived in the territory of present-day Uruguay in 1516 but the people's fierce resistance to conquest
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

, combined with the absence of gold and silver, limited their settlement in the region during the 16th and 17th centuries. Uruguay then became a zone of contention between the Spanish and the Portuguese empires. In 1603 the Spanish began to introduce cattle, which became a source of wealth in the region. The first permanent settlement on the territory of present-day Uruguay was founded by the Spanish in 1624 at Soriano
Villa Soriano
Villa Soriano is a town in the Soriano Department of Uruguay. Historically, it was also known as Santo Domingo de Soriano. It is located on the northwest end of Route 96, on the south bank of the river Río Negro, before it discharges into Río Uruguay....

 on the Río Negro
Río Negro (Uruguay)
The Río Negro is the most important river in Uruguay. It originates in the southern highlands of Brazil, just east of Bagé, and flows west across the entire width of Uruguay to the Uruguay River. The course of the Río Negro across Uruguay effectively divides the south of the country from the north...

. In 1669–71 the Portuguese built a fort at Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of around 22,000.It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site...

. Spanish colonization increased as Spain sought to limit Portugal's expansion of Brazil's frontiers.

Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military stronghold. Its natural harbor soon developed into a commercial area competing with Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

's capital, Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

. Uruguay's early 19th century history was shaped by ongoing fights between the British, Spanish, Portuguese, and other colonial forces for dominance in the Platine region
La Plata Basin
The Río de la Plata Basin , sometimes called the Platine basin or Platine region, is the name given to the hydrographical area that covers parts of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay...

. In 1806 and 1807 the British army attempted to seize Buenos Aires and Montevideo
British invasions of the Río de la Plata
The British invasions of the Río de la Plata were a series of unsuccessful British attempts to seize control of the Spanish colonies located around the La Plata Basin in South America . The invasions took place between 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars, when Spain was an ally of...

 as part of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. As a result Montevideo was occupied by a British force from February to September 1807.

Independence struggle




In 1811 José Gervasio Artigas
José Gervasio Artigas
José Gervasio Artigas is a national hero of Uruguay, sometimes called "the father of Uruguayan nationhood".-Early life:Artigas was born in Montevideo on June 19, 1764...

, who became Uruguay's national hero, launched a successful revolution against the Spanish authorities
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
The Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, , was the last and most short-lived Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire in America.The Viceroyalty was established in 1776 out of several former Viceroyalty of Perú dependencies that mainly extended over the Río de la Plata basin, roughly the present day...

, defeating them on 18 May at the Battle of Las Piedras
Battle of Las Piedras
The Battle of Las Piedras was fought on May 18, 1811 as part of the Uruguayan struggle for independence.-Background and development of events:...

.

In 1813 the new government in Buenos Aires convened a constituent assembly where Artigas emerged as a champion of federalism, demanding political and economic autonomy for each area, and for the Banda Oriental
Banda Oriental
The Banda Oriental del Uruguay was the South American territory east of the Uruguay River and north of the Río de la Plata, coinciding approximately with the modern nation of Uruguay, the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul and some parts of Santa Catarina...

 in particular. The assembly refused to seat the delegates from the Banda Oriental however, and Buenos Aires pursued a system based on unitary centralism.

Consequently Artigas broke with Buenos Aires and besieged Montevideo, taking the city in early 1815. Once the troops from Buenos Aires had withdrawn the Banda Oriental appointed its first autonomous government. Artigas organized the Federal League
Liga Federal
The Federal League or League of Free Peoples was a confederal state based around Montevideo from 1815 to 1820...

 under his protection, consisting of six provinces, four of which are now part of Argentina.

In 1816 a force of 10,000 Portuguese troops invaded the Banda Oriental from Brazil and took Montevideo in January 1817. After nearly four more years of struggle Portuguese Brazil annexed the Banda Oriental as a province under the name of Cisplatina
Cisplatina
The Cisplatina Province was a Portuguese and later a Brazilian province in existence from 1815 to 1828...

. The Brazilian Empire
Brazilian Empire
The Empire of Brazil was a 19th-century state that broadly comprised the territories which form modern Brazil. Its government was a representative parliamentary constitutional monarchy under the rule of Emperors Dom Pedro I and his son Dom Pedro II, both members of the House of Braganza—a...

 became independent from Portugal in 1822. In response to the annexation the Thirty-Three Orientals
Thirty-Three Orientals
The Treinta y Tres Orientales was a militant revolutionary group led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja against the Empire of Brazil. Their actions culminated in the foundation of modern Uruguay...

, led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja
Juan Antonio Lavalleja
Juan Antonio Lavalleja was an Uruguayan revolutionary and political figure. Today's Lavalleja Department is named after him.-Pre-Independence role:...

, declared independence on 25 August 1825 supported by the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (present-day Argentina).

This led to the 500 day-long Argentina-Brazil War
Argentina-Brazil War
The Cisplatine War or the Argentine–Brazilian War was an armed conflict over an area known as Banda Oriental or "Eastern Shore" in the 1820s between the United Provinces of River Plate and the Empire of Brazil in the aftermath of the United Provinces' emancipation from Spain.-Background:Led by...

. Neither side gained the upper hand and in 1828 the Treaty of Montevideo
1828 Treaty of Montevideo
Treaty of Montevideo : In a treaty signed on August 27, 1828, after British mediation, Brazil and Argentina recognized the independence of Uruguay....

, fostered by the United Kingdom, gave birth to Uruguay as an independent state. The nation's first constitution
Constitution of Uruguay
The Constitution of Uruguay is the supreme law of Uruguay. Its first version was written in 1830 and its last amendment was made in 2002. A new amendment is in talks as of April 2007....

 was adopted on 18 July 1830.

Blancos–Colorados conflicts



At the time of independence Uruguay had an estimated population of just under 75,000. The political scene in Uruguay became split between two parties: the conservative Blancos
National Party (Uruguay)
The National Party , also known as the White Party , is a major right-wing conservative political party in Uruguay, currently the major opposition party to the ruling Frente Amplio government....

 (Whites) headed by Manuel Oribe
Manuel Oribe
Manuel Ceferino Oribe y Viana was the fourth president of Uruguay.-Biography:Manuel Oribe was the son of Captain Francisco Oribe and María Francisca Viana, a descendant of the first governor of Montevideo, José Joaquín de Viana...

, representing the agricultural interests of the countryside; and the liberal Colorados
Colorado Party (Uruguay)
The Colorado Party is a political party in Uruguay.- Aims :It unites Conservative, Moderate and Social democratic groups. It was the dominant party of government almost without exception during the stabilisation of the Uruguayan republic....

 (Reds) led by Fructuoso Rivera
Fructuoso Rivera
José Fructuoso Rivera y Toscana was an Uruguayan general and patriot who assisted in the efforts to force Brazilians out of the Banda Oriental.-Founder of Colorado Party and President of Uruguay:...

, representing the business interests of Montevideo. The Uruguayan parties became associated with warring political factions in neighbouring Argentina.

The Colorados favored the exiled Argentinian liberal Unitarios
Unitarian Party
Unitarianists or Unitarians were the proponents of the concept of a Unitary state in Buenos Aires during the civil wars which shortly followed the Declaration of Independence of Argentina in 1816. They were opposed to the Argentine Federalists, who wanted a federation of independent provinces...

, many of whom had taken refuge in Montevideo while the Blanco president Manuel Oribe
Manuel Oribe
Manuel Ceferino Oribe y Viana was the fourth president of Uruguay.-Biography:Manuel Oribe was the son of Captain Francisco Oribe and María Francisca Viana, a descendant of the first governor of Montevideo, José Joaquín de Viana...

 was a close friend of the Argentinian ruler Manuel de Rosas. On 15 June 1838 an army led by the Colorado leader Rivera overthrew the president, who fled to Argentina. Rivera declared war on Rosas in 1839. The conflict would last thirteen years and become known as the Guerra Grande (the Great War).

In 1843 an Argentinian army overran Uruguay on Oribe's behalf but failed to take the capital. The siege of Montevideo, which began in February 1843, would last nine years. The besieged Uruguayans called on resident foreigners for help which led to a French and an Italian legion being formed, the latter led by the exiled Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

. (Hitherto unknown, it was Garibaldi's fame in this war which led to his later central role in the Unification of Italy).

In 1845 Britain and France intervened against Rosas to restore commerce to normal levels in the region. Their efforts proved ineffective and by 1849, tired of the war, both withdrew after signing a treaty favorable to Rosas. It appeared that Montevideo would finally fall when an uprising against Rosas, led by Justo José de Urquiza
Justo José de Urquiza
Justo José de Urquiza y García was an Argentine general and politician. He was president of the Argentine Confederation from 1854 to 1860.He was governor of Entre Ríos during the government of Juan Manuel de Rosas, governor of Buenos Aires with powers delegated from the other provinces...

 governor of Argentina's Entre Ríos Province
Entre Ríos Province
Entre Ríos is a northeastern province of Argentina, located in the Mesopotamia region. It borders the provinces of Buenos Aires , Corrientes and Santa Fe , and Uruguay in the east....

 began. The Brazilian intervention in May 1851 on behalf of the Colorados, combined with the uprising, changed the situation and Oribe was defeated. The siege of Montevideo was lifted and the Guerra Grande finally came to an end. Montevideo rewarded Brazil's support by signing treaties that confirmed Brazil's right to intervene in Uruguay's internal affairs.

In accordance with the 1851 treaties Brazil intervened militarily in Uruguay as often as it deemed necessary. In 1865 the Triple Alliance
Treaty of the Triple Alliance
The Treaty of the Triple Alliance was a treaty which allied Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay in the Paraguayan War. Signed at the beginning of the war, its articles prescribed the allies' actions both during and after the war.- Legal Restrictions :...

 was formed by the emperor of Brazil, the president of Argentina
President of Argentina
The President of the Argentine Nation , usually known as the President of Argentina, is the head of state of Argentina. Under the national Constitution, the President is also the chief executive of the federal government and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.Through Argentine history, the...

, and the Colorado general Venancio Flores
Venancio Flores
Venancio Flores Barrios was a Uruguayan political leader and general. Flores was President of Uruguay from 1854 to 1855 and from 1865 to 1868.-Background and early career:...

, the Uruguayan head of government whom they both had helped to gain power. The Triple Alliance declared war on Paraguayan leader Francisco Solano López
Francisco Solano López (politician)
Francisco Solano López Carrillo was president of Paraguay from 1862 until his death in 1870. He was officially the eldest son of president Carlos Antonio López, whom he succeeded...

 and the resulting War of the Triple Alliance
War of the Triple Alliance
The Paraguayan War , also known as War of the Triple Alliance , was a military conflict in South America fought from 1864 to 1870 between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay...

 ended with the invasion of Paraguay and its defeat by the armies of the three countries. Montevideo, which was used as a supply station by the Brazilian navy, experienced a period of prosperity and relative calm during the war.

The constitutional government of General Lorenzo Batlle y Grau
Lorenzo Batlle y Grau
Lorenzo Cristóbal Manuel Batlle y Grau was the President of Uruguay from 1868–1872.-Family Background and early career:He was the son of a wealthy merchant loyal to the Spanish crown...

 (1868–72) was forced to suppress an insurrection led by the National Party
National Party (Uruguay)
The National Party , also known as the White Party , is a major right-wing conservative political party in Uruguay, currently the major opposition party to the ruling Frente Amplio government....

. After two years of struggle a peace agreement was signed in 1872 that gave the Blancos a share in the emoluments and functions of government, through control of four of the departments of Uruguay
Departments of Uruguay
||Uruguay consists of 19 departments :# Artigas . Formed in 1884 from part of Salto Department. The only department to border both Argentina in the west and Brazil in the north and east.# Canelones . One of the original 6 departments created in 1816...

. This establishment of the policy of co-participation represented the search for a new formula of compromise, based on the coexistence of the party in power and the party in opposition.

Between 1875 and 1886 the military became the center of power. During this authoritarian period the government took steps toward the organization of the country as a modern state, encouraging its economic and social transformation. Pressure groups (consisting mainly of businessmen, hacendados, and industrialists) were organized and had a strong influence on government. A transition period (1886–90) followed, during which politicians began recovering lost ground and some civilian participation in government occurred.

Mass immigration and development



After the Guerra Grande there was a sharp rise in the number of immigrants, primarily from Italy and Spain. By 1879 the total population of the country was over 438,000. The economy saw a steep upswing, above all in livestock raising and exports. Montevideo became a major economic centre of the region and an entrepôt
Entrepôt
An entrepôt is a trading post where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit. This profit is possible because of trade conditions, for example, the reluctance of ships to travel the entire length of a long trading route, and selling to the entrepôt...

 for goods from Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

The Colorado leader José Batlle y Ordóñez
José Batlle y Ordóñez
José Pablo Torcuato Batlle y Ordóñez was the president of Uruguay in 1899 and from 1903 until 1907 and for a further term from 1911 to 1915. He was the son of former president, Lorenzo Batlle y Grau. His children César, Rafael and Lorenzo Batlle Pacheco were actively engaged in politics...

 was elected president in 1903. The following year the Blancos led a rural revolt and eight bloody months of fighting ensued before their leader, Aparicio Saravia
Aparicio Saravia
Aparicio Saravia da Rosa was a Uruguayan politician and military leader...

, was killed in battle. Government forces emerged victorious, leading to the end of the co-participation politics that had begun in 1872. Batlle
José Batlle y Ordóñez
José Pablo Torcuato Batlle y Ordóñez was the president of Uruguay in 1899 and from 1903 until 1907 and for a further term from 1911 to 1915. He was the son of former president, Lorenzo Batlle y Grau. His children César, Rafael and Lorenzo Batlle Pacheco were actively engaged in politics...

 had two terms (1903–07 and 1911–15) during which, and taking advantage of the nation's stability and growing economic prosperity, he instituted major reforms such as a welfare program, government participation in many facets of the economy, and a plural executive.

Gabriel Terra
Gabriel Terra
Dr. Gabriel Terra Leivas was the President of Uruguay from 1931 to 1938.- Background :Born in Montevideo to a wealthy family, he graduated from the University of Uruguay in 1895, and subsequently joined the faculty....

 became president in March 1931. His inauguration coincided with the effects of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

. when the social climate became tense as a result of the lack of jobs. There were confrontations in which police and leftists died. In 1933 Terra organized a coup d'état, dissolving the General Assembly and governing by decree. A new constitution was promulgated in 1934, transferring powers to the president. In general, the Terra government weakened or neutralized economic nationalism and social reform.

In 1938 general elections were held and Terra's brother-in-law, General Alfredo Baldomir
Alfredo Baldomir
Alfredo Baldomir Ferrari was an Uruguayan soldier, architect and politician. He served as President of Uruguay from 1938 to 1943 and is most notable for leading Uruguay to support the Allies during World War II....

, was elected president. Under pressure from organized labor and the National Party Baldomir advocated free elections, freedom of the press, and a new constitution. Although Baldomir declared Uruguay neutral in 1939 British warships and the German ship fought a battle
Battle of the River Plate
The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War. The German pocket battleship had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September 1939...

 not far off Uruguay's coast. Admiral Graf Spee took refuge in Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

, claiming sanctuary in a neutral port, but was later ordered out. In 1945 Uruguay abandoned its policy of neutrality and joined the Allied cause.

In the late 1950s, partly because of a world-wide decrease in demand for agricultural products, Uruguayans suffered from a steep drop in the standard of living which led to student militancy and labor unrest. An urban guerrilla movement known as the Tupamaros
Tupamaros
Tupamaros, also known as the MLN-T , was an urban guerrilla organization in Uruguay in the 1960s and 1970s. The MLN-T is inextricably linked to its most important leader, Raúl Sendic, and his brand of social politics...

 emerged, engaging in activities such as robbing banks and distributing the proceeds to the poor in addition to attempting political dialogue. As the government banned their political activities and the police became more oppressive, the Tupamaros took up an overtly armed struggle.

President Jorge Pacheco
Jorge Pacheco Areco
Jorge Pacheco Areco was a Uruguayan politician and member of the Colorado Party. He served as President of Uruguay from December 6, 1967 to March 1, 1972.-Vice President of Uruguay:...

 declared a state of emergency in 1968, followed by a further suspension of civil liberties in 1972. In 1973, amid increasing economic and political turmoil, the armed forces closed the Congress and established a civilian-military regime. Around 180 Uruguayans are known to have been killed during the 12-year military rule from 1973–1985. Most were killed in Argentina and other neighbouring countries, with only 36 of them having been killed in Uruguay.

Return to democracy



A new constitution, drafted by the military, was rejected in a November 1980 referendum. Following the referendum the armed forces announced a plan for the return to civilian rule, and national elections were held in 1984. Colorado Party
Colorado Party (Uruguay)
The Colorado Party is a political party in Uruguay.- Aims :It unites Conservative, Moderate and Social democratic groups. It was the dominant party of government almost without exception during the stabilisation of the Uruguayan republic....

 leader Julio María Sanguinetti won the presidency and served from 1985 to 1990. The first Sanguinetti administration implemented economic reforms and consolidated democracy following the country's years under military rule.

The National Party's Luis Alberto Lacalle
Luis Alberto Lacalle
Luis Alberto Lacalle de Herrera is a Uruguayan lawyer and politician who served as President of Uruguay from 1990 to 1995.-Background:His mother, María Hortensia de Herrera de Lacalle, was the daughter of the Blanco political leader Luis Alberto de Herrera, after whom Lacalle was named. Luis...

 won the 1989 presidential election and an amnesty for human rights abusers was endorsed by referendum. Sanguinetti was again elected in 1994. Both carried on with the economic structural reforms initiated after the reinstatement of democracy and other important reforms were aimed at improving the electoral system, social security, education, and public safety.

The 1999 national elections were held under a new electoral system established by a 1996 constitutional amendment. Colorado Party candidate Jorge Batlle, aided by the support of the National Party, defeated Broad Front
Broad Front (Uruguay)
The Broad Front is a Uruguayan left-wing coalition of political parties. It is led by Jorge Brovetto. Frente Amplio has close ties with PIT-CNT trade union and the cooperative housing movement.-History:...

 candidate Tabaré Vázquez
Tabaré Vázquez
Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas is a former President of Uruguay. A physician by training, he is a member of the leftist Frente Amplo coalition . Vázquez was elected president on October 31, 2004, took office on March 1, 2005, and relinquished the office on March 1, 2010...

. The formal coalition ended in November 2002 when the Blancos withdrew their ministers from the cabinet, although the Blancos continued to support the Colorados on most issues. Low commodity prices and economic difficulties in Uruguay's main export markets, first in Brazil with the devaluation of the real
Brazilian real
The real is the present-day currency of Brazil. Its sign is R$ and its ISO code is BRL. It is subdivided into 100 centavos ....

 then in Argentina in 2002, caused a severe recession—the economy contracted by 11%, unemployment climbed to 21% and the percentage of Uruguayans in poverty rose to over 30%.

In 2004 Uruguayans elected Tabaré Vázquez as president, while giving the Broad Front a majority in both houses of Parliament. Vázquez stuck to economic orthodoxy. As commodity prices soared and the economy recoiled from recession, he tripled foreign investment, cut poverty and unemployment, cut public debt from 79% of GDP to 60% and kept inflation steady.

In 2009 José Mujica
José Mujica
José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano is a Uruguayan politician and former guerrilla fighter, a member of the Broad Front and current President of Uruguay....

, a former left-wing militant who spent almost 15 years in prison during the country's military rule, emerged as the new President as the Broad Front won the election for a second time.

Politics


Uruguay is a representative democratic
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 republic with a presidential system
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

. The members of government are elected for a five-year term by a universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

 system. Uruguay is a unitary state
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

: justice, education, health, security, foreign policy and defence are all administered nationwide. The Executive Power is exercised by the president
President of Uruguay
The President of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay is the head of state of Uruguay. His or her rights are determined in the Constitution of Uruguay. Conforms with the Secretariat of the Presidency, the Council of Ministers and the Director of the Office of Planning and Budget, the executive branch...

 and a cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 of 13 ministers.

The legislative power is constituted by the General Assembly
General Assembly of Uruguay
The General Assembly of Uruguay has two chambers.*the Chamber of Deputies has 99 members, elected for a five year term by proportional representation....

, composed of two chambers
Bicameralism
In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

: the Chamber of Deputies of 99 members representing the 19 departments, elected based on proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

; and the Chamber of Senators
Senate of Uruguay
The Chamber of Senators is the upper house of the General Assembly of Uruguay. The Chamber has 30 members elected for a five year term by proportional representation; the vice-president of Uruguay presides over the chamber's sessions...

 consisting of 31 members, 30 of whom are elected for a five year term by proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 and the Vice-president, who presides over the chamber.

The judicial arm is exercised by the Supreme Court, the Bench and Judges nationwide. The members of the Supreme Court are elected by the General Assembly; the members of the Bench by the Supreme Court with the consent of the Senate; and the judges are directly assigned by the Supreme Court.

Uruguay adopted its current constitution in 1967. Many of its provisions were suspended in 1973, but re-established in 1985. Drawing upon Switzerland and its use of the initiative, the Uruguayan Constitution
Constitution of Uruguay
The Constitution of Uruguay is the supreme law of Uruguay. Its first version was written in 1830 and its last amendment was made in 2002. A new amendment is in talks as of April 2007....

 also allows citizens to repeal laws or to change the constitution by popular initiative which culminates into a nation-wide referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

. During the last 15 years this method has been used several times: to confirm a law renouncing prosecution of members of the military who violated human rights during the military regime (1973–1985); to stop privatization of public utilities companies; to defend pensioners' incomes; and to protect water resources.

For most of Uruguay's history, the Partido Colorado
Colorado Party (Uruguay)
The Colorado Party is a political party in Uruguay.- Aims :It unites Conservative, Moderate and Social democratic groups. It was the dominant party of government almost without exception during the stabilisation of the Uruguayan republic....

 has been in government. However, in the Uruguayan general election, 2009
Uruguayan general election, 2009
General elections for President and Parliament took place in Uruguay on 25 October and 29 November 2009. In parliamentary election results, the Broad Front emerged the winner, electing 16 senators and 50 deputies, while the National Party elected 9 senators and 30 deputies, the Colorado Party 5...

, the Broad Front
Broad Front (Uruguay)
The Broad Front is a Uruguayan left-wing coalition of political parties. It is led by Jorge Brovetto. Frente Amplio has close ties with PIT-CNT trade union and the cooperative housing movement.-History:...

 won an absolute majority in Parliamentary elections, and José Mujica
José Mujica
José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano is a Uruguayan politician and former guerrilla fighter, a member of the Broad Front and current President of Uruguay....

 of the Broad Front defeated Luis Alberto Lacalle
Luis Alberto Lacalle
Luis Alberto Lacalle de Herrera is a Uruguayan lawyer and politician who served as President of Uruguay from 1990 to 1995.-Background:His mother, María Hortensia de Herrera de Lacalle, was the daughter of the Blanco political leader Luis Alberto de Herrera, after whom Lacalle was named. Luis...

 of the Blancos
National Party (Uruguay)
The National Party , also known as the White Party , is a major right-wing conservative political party in Uruguay, currently the major opposition party to the ruling Frente Amplio government....

 to win the presidency
President of Uruguay
The President of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay is the head of state of Uruguay. His or her rights are determined in the Constitution of Uruguay. Conforms with the Secretariat of the Presidency, the Council of Ministers and the Director of the Office of Planning and Budget, the executive branch...

.

A 2010 Latinobarómetro
Latinobarómetro
Latinobarómetro Corporation is a private non-profit organization, based in Providencia, Chile. It is responsible for carrying out Latinobarómetro, an annual public opinion survey that involves some 19,000 interviews in 18 Latin American countries, representing more than 400 million people...

 poll found that, within Latin America, Uruguayans are among the most supportive of democracy and by far the most satisfied with the way democracy works in their country. Uruguay ranked 27th in the Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

 "Freedom in the World" index. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit
Economist Intelligence Unit
The Economist Intelligence Unit is part of the Economist Group.It is a research and advisory company providing country, industry and management analysis worldwide and incorporates the former Business International Corporation, a U.S. company acquired by the parent organization in 1986...

 in 2008, Uruguay scored an 8.08 in the Democracy Index
Democracy Index
The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit that claims to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are UN member states...

 and ranked 23rd amongst the 30 countries considered to be Full Democracies in the world. Uruguay ranks 24th in the World Corruption Perceptions Index
Corruption Perceptions Index
Since 1995, Transparency International publishes the Corruption Perceptions Index annually ranking countries "by their perceived levels of corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys." The CPI generally defines corruption as "the misuse of public power for private...

 composed by Transparency International
Transparency International
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide...

.

Foreign relations


In November 2010 Uruguay ratified the Unasur Constitutive Treaty, becoming the ninth nation out of 12 to do so. The treaty was written in 2008 and was to come into force 30 days after the date of receipt of the ninth instrument of ratification.

Argentina and Brazil are Uruguay's most important trading partners: imports from Argentina accounted for 20% of the total in 2009. Since bilateral relations with Argentina are considered a priority, Uruguay denies clearance to Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

 bound British naval vessels and prevents them from calling in at Uruguayan territories and ports for supplies and fuel. A rivalry between the port of Montevideo and the port of Buenos Aires, dating back to the times of the Spanish Empire, has been described as a "port war". Officials of both countries emphasized the need to end this rivalry in the name of regional integration in 2010.

The construction of a controversial pulp paper mill in 2007, on the Uruguayan side of the Uruguay River
Uruguay River
The Uruguay River is a river in South America. It flows from north to south and makes boundary with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, separating some of the Argentine provinces of the Mesopotamia from the other two countries...

, caused protests in Argentina over fears that it would pollute the environment and lead to diplomatic tensions between the two countries. The ensuing dispute remained a subject of controversy into 2010, particularly after ongoing reports of growing water contamination in the area were later proved to be from sewage discharge of Gualeguaychú town. In November 2010 Uruguay and Argentina announced they had reached a final agreement for the joint environmental monitoring of the pulp mill.

Brazil and Uruguay have signed cooperation agreements on defence, science, technology, energy, river transportation and fishing, with the hope of accelerating political and economic integration between these two neighbouring countries. Uruguay has two uncontested boundary disputes with Brazil, over Isla Brasilera and the 235 sqkm Invernada River region near Masoller
Masoller
Masoller is a village or populated centre of the Rivera Department in northern Uruguay, close to the border with Brazil. It is located on Route 30 on the border with Salto Department.-History:...

, over which tributary represents the legitimate source of the Quaraí River/Cuareim River
Quaraí River
The Quaraí or Cuareim River is a tributary of the Uruguay River.-Location:The river originates in the Coxilha de Santana , an area of low-lying hills, and runs westward to join the Uruguay River...

.

Uruguay has enjoyed friendly relations with the United States since its transition back to democracy. Commercial ties between Uruguay and the United States have expanded substantially in recent years, with the countries signing a bilateral investment treaty in 2004 and a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
A Trade and Investment Framework Agreement is a trade pact which establishes a framework for expanding trade and resolving outstanding disputes between countries....

 in January 2007. The United States and Uruguay have also cooperated on military matters, with both countries playing significant roles in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

President Mujica backed Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

's bid to join Mercosur
Mercosur
Mercosur or Mercosul is an economic and political agreement among Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Founded in 1991 by the Treaty of Asunción, which was later amended and updated by the 1994 Treaty of Ouro Preto. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people,...

 and supported the Venezuelan Economy Minister Ali Rodriguez
Alí Rodríguez
Alí Rodríguez Araque is a Venezuelan politician, lawyer, and diplomat.- Biography :He is the leader of the party Patria Para Todos and has occupied various positions in the government of President Hugo Chávez, such as oil advisor, General Secretary of OPEC, President of Petróleos de Venezuela ,...

 to become general secretary of UNASUR, a position previously held by Néstor Kirchner
Néstor Kirchner
Néstor Carlos Kirchner was an Argentine politician who served as the 54th President of Argentina from 25 May 2003 until 10 December 2007. Previously, he was Governor of Santa Cruz Province since 10 December 1991. He briefly served as Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations ...

. Venezuela has a deal to sell Uruguay up to 40,000 barrels of oil a day under preferential terms. Uruguay will officially recognize a Palestinian state in March 2011.

Military



The Uruguayan armed forces are constitutionally subordinate to the president, through the minister of defense. The armed forces personnel number about 14,000 for the Army, 6,000 for the Navy
National Navy of Uruguay
The National Navy of Uruguay is a branch of the Armed Forces of Uruguay under the direction of the Ministry of National Defense and the commander in chief of the Navy Admiral Juan H...

, and 3,000 for the Air force
Uruguayan Air Force
The Uruguayan Air Force is one of the three main branches of the Armed Forces of Uruguay under the Uruguayan Ministry of Defense. The current head of the force is General of the Air Enrique A...

. Enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies.

Since May 2009, homosexuals are allowed to serve openly in the military after the Defence Minister signed a decree stating that military recruitment policy would no longer discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. In the fiscal year 2010 the United States provided Uruguay with $1.7 million in military assistance, including $1 million in Foreign Military Financing and $480,000 in International Military Education and Training
International Military Education and Training
International Military Education and Training is the title of a United States security assistance program, a type of student exchange program. The policies underlying this program are directed by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and the constituent...

.

Uruguay ranks first in the world on a per capita basis for its contributions to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 forces with 2,513 soldiers and officers in 10 UN peacekeeping missions. As of February 2010 Uruguay had 1,136 military personnel deployed to Haiti in support of MINUSTAH and 1,360 deployed in support of MONUC in the Congo. In December 2010 a Uruguayan, Major General Gloodtdofsky, was appointed Chief Military Observer and head of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan.

Administrative divisions


Uruguay is divided into 19 departments whose local administrations replicate the division of the executive and legislative powers. Each department elects its own authorities through a universal suffrage system. The departmental executive authority resides in a superintendent and the legislative authority in a departmental board.
Department Capital Area Population (2010 est.)
Artigas
Artigas Department
The Department of Artigas , with an area of and 78,019 inhabitants, it is the northernmost department of Uruguay. Its capital is Artigas.It is named after José Artigas , leader of the orientales during the wars of Independence.-Geography and climate:Neighbouring departments are Salto to the...

 
Artigas
Artigas, Uruguay
Artigas is the capital of the Artigas Department of Uruguay. The name Artigas comes from that of the national hero, Jose Gervasio Artigas, who fought for the emancipation of the River Plate, and sought to create a federative nation from these colonies...

 
11928 km² (4,605.4 sq mi)
Canelones
Canelones Department
The Canelones Department , with an area of and 485,240 inhabitants, is located to the south of Uruguay. Its capital is Canelones.-Geography and climate:...

 
Canelones
Canelones
Canelones is the capital of the department of Canelones in Uruguay.-Population:In 2004, it had a population of 19,631. While Canelones is the capital of the department of the same name, it has a considerably smaller population compared with two other cities in the department, Ciudad de la Costa and...

 
4536 km² (1,751.4 sq mi)
Cerro Largo
Cerro Largo Department
Cerro Largo Department is a department of Uruguay. Its capital is Melo.-History:During the 19th and early 20th centuries, when intermittent periods of civil war occurred in Uruguay, the department was a stronghold of the Blanco party...

 
Melo
Melo
Melo is the capital city of the Cerro Largo Department of north-eastern Uruguay. It is located at the centre of the department, on the intersection of Route 7 with Route 8, south of Aceguá and the border with Brazil. Other primary roads to the city are Route 26 and Route 44. The stream Arroyo...

 
13648 km² (5,269.5 sq mi)
Colonia
Colonia Department
Colonia is a departamento in southwestern Uruguay. Its capital is Colonia del Sacramento, the country's second oldest city.-Economy:The region is the main producer of dairy products in Uruguay...

 
Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of around 22,000.It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site...

 
6106 km² (2,357.5 sq mi)
Durazno
Durazno Department
Durazno is a department of Uruguay. Its capital is Durazno. Its name means "peach" in Spanish, referring to the department's peaches and its status as an agricultural breadbasket.-Economy and Geography:...

 
Durazno
Durazno
Durazno is the capital of Durazno in Uruguay. It is located at the intersection of Routes 5 and 41, in the south of the department, close to the borders with the departments of Flores to the southwest and Florida| to the southeast. It is only northeast of the city of Trinidad, capital of Flores...

 
11643 km² (4,495.4 sq mi)
Flores
Flores Department
-History and cultural heritage:The department, created by President Máximo Santos, is named after the former Colorado Party leader, Venancio Flores, who was born in Trinidad in the nineteenth century.The department has many sites of prehistoric rock art...

 
Trinidad
Trinidad, Uruguay
Trinidad is the capital city of Flores in southern Uruguay. It is located on the intersection of Route 3 with Route 14.-History:Named for the Spanish word for 'Trinity', its naming reflects a less secular period in the country's history. The city was initially called: 'Santísima Trinidad de los...

 
5144 km² (1,986.1 sq mi)
Florida
Florida Department
Florida is a department of Uruguay. Its capital of is Florida.-Population and Demographics:As of the census of 2004, there were 68,181 people and 21,938 households in the department. The average household size was 3.1...

 
Florida
Florida, Uruguay
Florida is the capital of Florida Department of Uruguay. It is located on Route 5, around north of Montevideo. The stream Arroyo Santa Lucía Chico flows along the east and south limits of the city...

 
10417 km² (4,022 sq mi)
Lavalleja
Lavalleja Department
The Department of Lavalleja is a department of Uruguay. The capital is Minas. It is located in the southeast of the country, bordered to the north by the department of Treinta y Tres to the east with Rocha, to the south with Canelones and Maldonado, and to the west to Florida.The department is...

 
Minas
Minas, Uruguay
Minas is the capital of the Lavalleja Department in Uruguay. It is located in the south of the department, on the intersection of Route 8 with Route 12. The city is situated between hill ranges and the basins of the streams Arroyo San Francisco and Arroyo Campanero. Its status was elevated to...

 
10016 km² (3,867.2 sq mi)
Maldonado
Maldonado Department
The Maldonado Department , with an area of and 140,192 inhabitants, is located to the southeast of Uruguay. Its capital is Maldonado.-Geography and climate:...

 
Maldonado
Maldonado, Uruguay
Maldonado is the capital of Maldonado Department of Uruguay. It is located on Route 39 and shares borders with Punta del Este to the south, Pinares - Las Delicias to the south and to the east and suburb La Sonrisa to the north. Together they all for a unified metropolitan area. East of the city...

 
4793 km² (1,850.6 sq mi)
Montevideo
Montevideo Department
Montevideo is a department of Uruguay.It is by far the smallest one in area, and the most populated as well. It contains the city of Montevideo, capital of Uruguay. While most of the department is covered by the capital city, there are still smaller towns within its limits, e.g...

 
Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 
530 km² (204.6 sq mi)
Paysandú
Paysandú Department
Paysandú Department is a department of Uruguay. Its capital is Paysandú. Its name origin is debated but is likely to be of charrua origin.The fertile soils of Paysandú have encouraged much agricultural development. Livestock raising is one of the principal agricultural activities, with cattle...

 
Paysandú
Paysandú
-Transportation:The city is served by Tydeo Larre Borges International Airport.-Climate:Paysandú has a humid subtropical climate, described by the Köppen climate classification as Cfa. Summers are warm to hot and winters are cool, with the occurrence of frosts and fog...

 
13922 km² (5,375.3 sq mi)
Río Negro
Río Negro Department
The Río Negro Department is an administrative division of Uruguay located in the west of the country. It has 53,989 inhabitants and an area of 9,282 km² . Its capital is Fray Bentos.-Geography and climate:...

 
Fray Bentos
Fray Bentos
Fray Bentos, the capital of the Río Negro Department of western Uruguay, is a port on the Uruguay River. It is close to the border with Argentina and about due north of Buenos Aires.-History:...

 
9282 km² (3,583.8 sq mi)
Rivera
Rivera Department
Rivera is a department of Uruguay. Its capital is Rivera.- History :The Battle of Masoller, a noteworthy event in Uruguayan history, was fought on September 1, 1904; Masoller is situated on the boundary between the departments of Artigas and Salto, close to the Brazilian border.-Population and...

 
Rivera
Rivera
Rivera is the capital of Rivera Department of Uruguay. It is located at the north end of Route 5, on the border with Brazil. The Brazilian city of Santana do Livramento is right across the border, only a street away of it...

 
9370 km² (3,617.8 sq mi)
Rocha
Rocha Department
Rocha is a department in the east of Uruguay. It has natural beauties like Cabo Polonio, Valizas, Santa Teresa. Rocha is well known for its beach towns which swell during the summer holidays...

 
Rocha
Rocha, Uruguay
-External links:*...

 
10551 km² (4,073.8 sq mi)
Salto
Salto Department
Salto Department is a department of Uruguay. Its capital is Salto.-Population and Demographics:As of the census of 2004, there were 123,120 people and 34,441 households in the department. The average household size was 3.5...

 
Salto  14163 km² (5,468.4 sq mi)
San José
San José Department
San José Department is a department of Uruguay. Its capital is San José de Mayo.-Population and Demographics:As of the census of 2004, there were 103,104 people and 33,063 households in the department. The average household size was 3.0...

 
San José de Mayo
San José de Mayo
San José de Mayo is the capital city of the San José Department in southern Uruguay. It is located at the centre of the department, on the intersection of Route 3 with Route 11, from the centre of Montevideo. The railroad track connecting Montevideo with Colonia and with the northwest of the...

 
4992 km² (1,927.4 sq mi)
Soriano
Soriano Department
Soriano is a department of Uruguay. Its capital is Mercedes.-Population and Demographics:As of the census of 2004, there were 84,563 people and 26,105 households in the department. The average household size was 3.2...

 
Mercedes
Mercedes, Uruguay
Mercedes is the capital and largest city of the department of Soriano in Uruguay. It is located on the junction of Route 2 with Route 14, and is situated on the south bank of the Río Negro. Also Route 21 from Colonia del Sacramento of Colonia Department terminates in this city.Mercedes is an...

 
9008 km² (3,478 sq mi)
Tacuarembó
Tacuarembó Department
Tacuarembó is the largest department of Uruguay. Its capital is Tacuarembó.-Population and Demographics:As of the census of 2004, there were 90,489 people and 28,054 households in the department. The average household size was 3.2...

 
Tacuarembó
Tacuarembó
Tacuarembó is the capital city of the Tacuarembó Department in north-central Uruguay. It is located on Km. 390 of Route 5, south-southwest of Rivera, the capital city of the Rivera Department. Routes 26 and 31 also meet Route 5 within the city limits...

 
15438 km² (5,960.6 sq mi)
Treinta y Tres
Treinta y Tres Department
Treinta y Tres is a department of Uruguay. Its capital is Treinta y Tres.-History of name:'Treinta y Tres' is Spanish for 'Thirty-Three'. The department is named after 33 19th century patriots honoured by Uruguayans.-Population and Demographics:...

 
Treinta y Tres
Treinta y Tres
Treinta y Tres is the capital city of the Treinta y Tres Department in eastern Uruguay. It is located on Route 8, on the north banks of Olimar Grande River...

 
9529 km² (3,679.2 sq mi)
Total¹ 175016 km² (67,574.1 sq mi)

Geography



At 176214 km² (68,037 sq mi) of continental land 142199 km² (54,903 sq mi) of jurisdictional water and small river islands, Uruguay is the second smallest sovereign nation in South America (after Suriname
Suriname
Suriname , officially the Republic of Suriname , is a country in northern South America. It borders French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south, and on the north by the Atlantic Ocean. Suriname was a former colony of the British and of the Dutch, and was previously known as...

) and the third smallest territory (French Guiana
French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

 is the smallest). The landscape features mostly rolling plains and low hill ranges (cuchillas) with a fertile coastal lowland.

A dense fluvial network covers the country, consisting of four river basins or deltas; the Río de la Plata, the Uruguay River, the Laguna Merín
Lagoa Mirim
Lagoa Mirim or Laguna Merín is a large estuarine lagoon which extends from southern Rio Grande do Sul state in Brazil into eastern Uruguay. Lagoa Mirim is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a sandy, partially barren isthmus....

 and the Río Negro. The major internal river is the Río Negro
Río Negro (Uruguay)
The Río Negro is the most important river in Uruguay. It originates in the southern highlands of Brazil, just east of Bagé, and flows west across the entire width of Uruguay to the Uruguay River. The course of the Río Negro across Uruguay effectively divides the south of the country from the north...

 ('black river'). Several lagoon
Lagoon
A lagoon is a body of shallow sea water or brackish water separated from the sea by some form of barrier. The EU's habitat directive defines lagoons as "expanses of shallow coastal salt water, of varying salinity or water volume, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sand banks or shingle,...

s are found along the Atlantic coast.

The highest point in the country is the Cerro Catedral
Cerro Catedral (Uruguay)
Cerro Catedral , also known as Cerro Cordillera, is a peak and the highest point of Uruguay, with an altitude of . It is located north of Maldonado Department, in the municipality of Aiguá, in a hill range named Sierra Carapé, which constitutes part of a larger range named Cuchilla Grande...

 whose peak reaches to 514 metres (1,686 ft) AMSL
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

 in the Sierra Carapé hill range. To the southwest is the Río de Plata, the estuary of the Uruguay River which forms the western border, and the Paraná River
Paraná River
The Paraná River is a river in south Central South America, running through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina for some . It is second in length only to the Amazon River among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language...

.

Montevideo is the southernmost capital city in the Americas, and the third most southerly in the world (only Canberra
Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

 and Wellington
Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

 are further south).

Uruguay has 660 km of coastline.

There are nine National Parks in Uruguay. Five in the wetland areas of the east, three in the central hill country and one in the west along the Rio Uruguay.

Climate




Uruguay's climate is relatively mild. Located entirely within the temperate zone Uruguay has a climate that is fairly uniform nationwide. Seasonal variations are pronounced, but extremes in temperature are rare. As would be expected by its abundance of water, high humidity and fog are common. The absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, makes all locations vulnerable to high winds and rapid changes in weather as fronts or storms sweep across the country. Both summer and winter weather may vary from day to day with the passing of storm fronts where a hot northerly wind may occasionally be followed by a cold wind (pampero
Pampero Winds
The pampero is a burst of cold polar air from the west, southwest or south on the pampas in the south of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. This wind picks up during the passage of a cold front of an active low passing by. It takes the form of a squall line and there is a marked drop in temperature...

) from the Argentine Pampas.

Uruguay has a largely uniform temperature throughout the year, summer being tempered by winds off the Atlantic, and severe cold in winter is unknown. The heaviest precipitation occurs during the autumn months, although more frequent rainy spells occur in winter. The mean annual precipitation is generally greater than 40 inches (1,016 mm), decreasing with distance from the sea coast, and is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year.

The average temperature for the mid-winter month of July varies from 12 °C (53.6 °F) at Salto
Salto, Uruguay
Salto is the capital city of the Salto Department in northwestern Uruguay and the second largest city of the country. It is located on Route 3, about northwest of Montevideo, and on the east bank of Río Uruguay, across the city Concordia of Argentina...

 in the northern interior to 9 °C (48.2 °F) at Montevideo in the south. The midsummer month of January varies from a warm average of 26 °C (78.8 °F) at Salto to 22 °C (71.6 °F) at Montevideo. National extreme temperatures at sea level are, Paysandú city 44 °C (111.2 °F) (20 January 1943) and Melo
Melo
Melo is the capital city of the Cerro Largo Department of north-eastern Uruguay. It is located at the centre of the department, on the intersection of Route 7 with Route 8, south of Aceguá and the border with Brazil. Other primary roads to the city are Route 26 and Route 44. The stream Arroyo...

 city −11.0 C (14 June 1967).

Economy


Uruguay experienced a major economic and financial crisis between 1999 and 2002, principally a spillover effect
Spillover effect
Spillover effects are externalities of economic activity or processes that affect those who are not directly involved. Odours from a rendering plant are negative spillover effects upon its neighbours; the beauty of a homeowner's flower garden is a positive spillover effect upon neighbours.In the...

 from the economic problems of Argentina. The economy contracted by 11% and unemployment climbed to 21%. Despite the severity of the trade shocks Uruguay's financial indicators remained more stable than those of its neighbours, a reflection of its solid reputation among investors and its investment-grade sovereign bond rating, one of only two in South America.

In 2004 the Vázquez government signed a three-year $1.1 billion stand-by arrangement with the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

, committing the country to a substantial primary fiscal surplus, low inflation, considerable reductions in external debt and several structural reforms designed to improve competitiveness and attract foreign investment. Uruguay terminated the agreement in 2006 following the early repayment of its debt, but maintained a number of the policy commitments.

Vázquez also created the "Ministry of Social Development" and sought to reduce the country's poverty rate with a $240 million National Plan to Address the Social Emergency (PANES), that provided a monthly conditional cash transfer
Conditional Cash Transfer
Conditional cash transfer programs aim to reduce poverty by making welfare programs conditional upon the receivers' actions. The government only transfers the money to persons who meet certain criteria...

 of approximately $75 to over 100,000 households in extreme poverty. In exchange, those receiving the benefits were required to participate in community work, ensure that their children attended school daily and had regular health check-ups.

In 2005 Uruguay was the first exporter of software in South America. The Frente Amplio
Broad Front (Uruguay)
The Broad Front is a Uruguayan left-wing coalition of political parties. It is led by Jorge Brovetto. Frente Amplio has close ties with PIT-CNT trade union and the cooperative housing movement.-History:...

 government, while continuing payments on Uruguay's external debt, also undertook an emergency plan to attack the widespread problems of poverty and unemployment. The economy grew at an annual rate of 6.7% during the 2004–2008 period. Uruguay's exports markets have been diversified in order to reduce dependency on Argentina and Brazil. Poverty was reduced from 33% in 2002 to 21.7% in July 2008, while extreme poverty dropped from 3.3% to 1.7%, respectively.

Between the years 2007 and 2009 Uruguay was the only country in the Americas which did not technically experience a recession (two consecutive downwards quarters). Unemployment reached a record low of 5.4% in December 2010 before rising to 6.1% in January 2011. Low unemployment has caused a rise in inflationary pressures, although Uruguay's GDP expanded by 10.4% for the first half of 2010. According to IMF estimates, Uruguay is likely to achieve growth in real GDP of between 8% and 8.5% in 2010, followed by 5% growth in 2011 and 4% in subsequent years. The gross public sector debt contracted in the second quarter of 2010, after five consecutive periods of sustained increase, reached 21.885 billion US dollars, equivalent to 59.5% of the GDP.

Agriculture



In 2010 Uruguay's export-oriented agricultural sector contributed to 9.3% of the GDP, and employed a 13% of the workforce. Official statistics from Uruguay's Agriculture and Livestock Ministry indicate that meat and sheep farming in Uruguay occupies 59.6% of the land. The percentage further increases to 82.4% when cattle breeding is linked to other farm activities such as dairy, forage and rotation with crops such as rice. Agriculture produces 70% of Uruguayan exports.

According to FAOSTAT, Uruguay is one of world's largest producers of: soybeans (9th); greasy wool (12th); horse meat
Horse meat
Horse meat is the culinary name for meat cut from a horse. It is a major meat in only a few countries, notably in Central Asia, but it forms a significant part of the culinary traditions of many others, from Europe to South America to Asia. The top eight countries consume about 4.7 million horses...

 (14th); beeswax
Beeswax
Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. It is mainly esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols...

 (14th); quinces (17th); natural honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

 (19th); cattle meat (20th).

Most farms are family managed (25,500 out of 39,120) and beef and wool represent the main activities and main source of income for 65% of them followed by vegetable farming at 12%, dairy farming at 11%, hogs at 2% and poultry at 2%. Beef is the main export commodity of the country totalling over a billion U.S. dollars in 2006.

In 2007 Uruguay had cattle herds totalling 12 million head, making it the country with the highest number of cattle per capita at 3.8. However, 54% of the total number of cattle is in the hands of 11% of farmers who have a minimum of 500 head. At the other extreme 38% of farmers exploit small lots and have cattle herds averaging below a hundred head.

Transportation


The Port of Montevideo
Port of Montevideo
The Port of Montevideo , in the northern part of the Old City of Montevideo, Uruguay, is one of the major ports of South America and plays a very important role in the economy of Uruguay.-History:...

, handling over 1.1 million containers annually, is the most advanced container terminal in South America. Its quay can handle 14 metres (45.9 ft) draught vessels. Nine straddle cranes
Straddle carrier
A straddle carrier is a non road going vehicle for use in port terminals and intermodal yards used for stacking and moving ISO standard containers. Straddles pick and carry containers while straddling their load and connecting to the top lifting points via a container spreader. These machines have...

 allow for 80 to 100 movements per hour. The port of Nueva Palmira
Nueva Palmira
Nueva Palmira is a city in Colonia Department in south-western Uruguay. It is located on the east bank of Uruguay River, about northwest of the departmental capital Colonia del Sacramento.-Population:In 2004, it had a population of 9,230....

 is a major regional merchandise transfer point, and houses both private and government-run terminals.

Carrasco Airport, designed by the architect Rafael Viñoly
Rafael Viñoly
Rafael Viñoly is an Uruguayan architect living in the United States.-Biography:He was born in Montevideo, Uruguay to Román Viñoly Barreto, and Maria Beceiro ....

 with an investment of 165 million dollars, was inaugurated in 2009. The airport can handle up to 4,500,000 users per year. PLUNA
PLUNA
PLUNALíneas Aéreas Uruguayas S.A. is the flag carrier of Uruguay, headquartered in Carrasco, Montevideo. It operates scheduled services within South America, as well as unscheduled cargo and charter services, with its main hub being Carrasco International Airport near Montevideo.- Foundation :The...

 is the flag carrier
Flag carrier
A flag carrier is a transportation company, such as an airline or shipping company, that, being locally registered in a given country, enjoys preferential rights or privileges, accorded by the government, for international operations. It may be a state-run, state-owned or private but...

 of Uruguay, and is headquartered in Carrasco
Carrasco
-Places:* Carrasco Province , a province of Cochabamba Department, Bolivia* Carrasco National Park, a national park in Cochabamba Department, Bolivia* Carrasco Bonito, a Brazilian municipality in the state of Tocantins...

. The Laguna del Sauce Airport, located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Punta del Este
Punta del Este
Punta del Este is a resort town on the Atlantic Coast in the Maldonado Department of southeastern Uruguay. It is located on the intersection of Route 10 with Route 39, directly southeast of the department capital Maldonado and about east of Montevideo...

, has been remodeled in 1997 and runways have been renovated through a private investment concession.

The Administración de Ferrocarriles del Estado
Administración de Ferrocarriles del Estado
The Administración de Ferrocarriles del Estado , known by its acronym AFE, is the autonomous agency of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay in charge of rail transport and the maintenance of Uruguayan railway.-History:...

 is the autonomous agency in charge of rail transport and the maintenance of the railroad network
Rail transport in Uruguay
The Uruguayan railway network has approximately 2900 km of lines, all of gauge 1435 mm, diesel traction and only 11 km of double track...

. Uruguay has about 1200 km (745.6 mi) of operational railroad track. Until 1947 about 90% of the railroad system was British-owned. In 1949 the government nationalized the railways, along with the electric trams and the waterworks company. However, in 1985 the "National Transport Plan" suggested passenger trains were too costly to repair and maintain. Cargo trains would continue for loads more than 120 tons, but bus transportation became the "economic" alternative for travellers. The last passenger train rolled into Montevideo on 2 January 1988.

Surfaced roads connect Montevideo to the other urban centers in the country, the main highways leading to the border and neighboring cities. Numerous unpaved roads connect farms and small towns. Overland trade has increased markedly since Mercosur
Mercosur
Mercosur or Mercosul is an economic and political agreement among Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Founded in 1991 by the Treaty of Asunción, which was later amended and updated by the 1994 Treaty of Ouro Preto. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people,...

 (Southern Common Market) was formed in the 1990s. Most of the country's domestic freight and passenger service is by road rather than rail.

Telecommunications



Telecommunications in Uruguay are more developed than in most other Latin American countries, being the first country in the Americas to achieve complete digital telephony coverage in 1997. The telephone system is completely digitized and has very good coverage over all the country. The system is government-owned and there have been controversial proposals to partially privatize since the 1990s.

The mobile phone market is shared by the state-owned (Ancel
Ancel
Antel is a brand under which Uruguayan government-owned telecommunications company Antel provides mobile phone services since 1 September 1994....

) and two private companies, Movistar
Movistar
Movistar is a major Spanish mobile phone operator owned by Telefónica Móviles. It operates in Spain and in many Latin American countries. It is the largest carrier in Spain with 22 million customers and 41.58% of market share. Its principal competitor in Latin America is America Movil...

 and Claro
Claro (mobile phone network)
Claro is the largest mobile phone network in the Americas. It is part of the Mexican telecom group América Móvil which is one of the four largest mobile phone network operators in the world, with more than 200 million customers...

.

Demographics


Uruguayans are of predominantly European origin with an estimated 88% of the population being of European descent
European ethnic groups
The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe....

. A 2008 survey by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística
Instituto Nacional de Estadística
Instituto Nacional de Estadística may refer to:*Instituto Nacional de Estadística *Instituto Nacional de Estadística *National Statistics Institute -See also:*National Institute of Statistics...

 (INE) of Uruguay requesting the respondent to self-report their predominant ancestry (only one choice was allowed) found that 95.4% reported a predominant white
White people
White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

 ancestry, 3.4% Black or African, 1.1% Indigenous and 0.1% Asian or Amarillo ("yellow"). Another INE survey, also conducted in 2008, found that 10% reported having some degree of Black/African ancestry, 5.5% partial Indigenous, and 0.3% partial Asian ancestry.

Most Uruguayans of European ancestry are descendants of 19th and 20th century immigrants from Spain and Italy (about one-quarter of the population is of Italian origin) and, to a much lesser degree, from France and Britain. Earlier settlers had migrated from Argentina and Paraguay. Few direct descendants of Uruguay's indigenous peoples remain, and mestizos account for less than one-tenth of the population. People of African descent make up an even smaller proportion of the total.

The rates of birth and population growth in Uruguay are much lower than in other Latin American countries. Uruguay's population is quite mature as a result of the low birth rate, high life expectancy, and relatively high rate of emigration of younger people. A quarter of the population are less than 15 years old and about a sixth are aged 60 and older.

Health Facts:
  • Fertility rate - 140th most fertile, at 1.89 per woman
  • Birth rate - 157th most births, at 13.91 per 1000 people
  • Infant mortality - 128th most deaths, at 1 per 1000 live births
  • Death rate - 84th death rate at 9.16 per 1000 people
  • Life Expectancy - 47th at 76.4 years
  • Suicide Rate - 24th suicide rate per 100,000 (15.1 for males and 6.4 for females)
  • HIV/AIDS Rate – 108th at 0.30%


From 1963 to 1985 an estimated 320,000 Uruguayans emigrated. By far the most popular destination for Uruguayan emigrants was Argentina followed by the United States, Australia, Spain, Brazil, and Venezuela. In 2009, for the first time in 44 years, the country saw an overall positive influx when comparing immigration to emigration. 3,825 residence permits were awarded in 2009, compared with 1,216 in 2005. 50% of new legal residents come from Argentina and Brazil. A migration law passed in 2008 gives immigrants the same rights and opportunities that nationals have, with the requisite of proving a monthly income of $650.

Metropolitan Montevideo is the only large city and has around 1.3 million inhabitants. The rest of the urban population lives in about 20 towns. Uruguay is less densely populated than Argentina and Brazil although the neighbouring regions of southern Brazil and north eastern Argentina have roughly comparable population densities.

Religion


Uruguay has no official religion, church and state are officially separated and religious freedom is guaranteed. A 2008 survey by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística
Instituto Nacional de Estadística
Instituto Nacional de Estadística may refer to:*Instituto Nacional de Estadística *Instituto Nacional de Estadística *National Statistics Institute -See also:*National Institute of Statistics...

 of Uruguay gave Catholicism as the main religion, with 45.7% of the population, 9.0% are non-Catholic Christians, 0.6% are Animists or Umbandists
Umbanda
Umbanda is an Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African religions with Catholicism, Spiritism and Kardecism, and considerable indigenous lore....

 (an Afro-Brazilian
Afro-Brazilian
In Brazil, the term "preto" is one of the five categories used by the Brazilian Census, along with "branco" , "pardo" , "amarelo" and "indígena"...

 religion) and 0.4% Jewish. 30.1% reported believing in a god, but not belonging to any religion, while 14% were Atheist or Agnostic. Among the sizeable Armenian
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 community in Montevideo the dominant religion is Christianity, specifically Armenian Apostolic.

Political observers consider Uruguay the most secular country in the Americas. Uruguay's secularization began with the relatively minor role of the church in the colonial era, compared with other parts of the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

. The small numbers of Uruguay's Indians and their fierce resistance to proselytism reduced the influence of the ecclesiastical authorities.

After independence anticlerical
Anti-clericalism
Anti-clericalism is a historical movement that opposes religious institutional power and influence, real or alleged, in all aspects of public and political life, and the involvement of religion in the everyday life of the citizen...

 ideas spread to Uruguay, particularly from France, further eroding the influence of the church. In 1837 civil marriage was recognized and in 1861 the state took over the running of public cemeteries. In 1907 divorce was legalized and in 1909 all religious instruction was banned from state schools. Under the influence of the radical Colorado
Colorado Party (Uruguay)
The Colorado Party is a political party in Uruguay.- Aims :It unites Conservative, Moderate and Social democratic groups. It was the dominant party of government almost without exception during the stabilisation of the Uruguayan republic....

 reformer José Batlle y Ordóñez
José Batlle y Ordóñez
José Pablo Torcuato Batlle y Ordóñez was the president of Uruguay in 1899 and from 1903 until 1907 and for a further term from 1911 to 1915. He was the son of former president, Lorenzo Batlle y Grau. His children César, Rafael and Lorenzo Batlle Pacheco were actively engaged in politics...

 (1903–1911) complete separation of church and state was introduced with the new constitution of 1917
Constitution of Uruguay
The Constitution of Uruguay is the supreme law of Uruguay. Its first version was written in 1830 and its last amendment was made in 2002. A new amendment is in talks as of April 2007....

.

Language



Uruguayan Spanish has some modifications due to the considerable number of Italian immigrants
Italian settlement in Uruguay
An Italian Uruguayan is an Uruguayan citizen of full or partial Italian ancestry. Almost half of the population is of Italian origin or has some degree of Italian descent...

. Immigrants used to speak a mixture of Italian and Spanish known as 'cocoliche
Cocoliche
Cocoliche is an Italian-Spanish pidgin that was spoken by Italian immigrants in Argentina between 1880-1950.-History:...

' and some of the words are still commonly used by the population. As is the case with neighboring Argentina, Uruguay employs both voseo
Voseo
Voseo is the use of the second person singular pronoun vos in many dialects of Spanish. In dialects that have it, it is used either instead of tú, or alongside it....

 and yeismo
Yeísmo
Yeísmo is a distinctive feature of many dialects of the Spanish language, which consists of the loss of the traditional palatal lateral approximant phoneme and its merger into the phoneme , usually realized as a palatal fricative or affricate. In other words, ‹ll› and ‹y› represent the same sound...

 (with [ʃ] or [ʒ]). English is common in the business world and its study has risen significantly in recent years, especially among the young. Other languages include Portuguese and Portuñol
Riverense Portuñol language
The Riverense Portuñol/Portunhol, also known as Fronterizo/Fronteiriço or just Portuñol/Portunhol, is a mixed language formed from Portuguese and Spanish. It is spoken on the border between Uruguay and Brazil, and more specifically in the region of the twin cities of Rivera and Santana do...

 (a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese). Both are spoken in the northern regions near the Brazilian border. As few native peoples exist in the population no indigenous languages are thought to remain in Uruguay.

Culture



Uruguayan culture is strongly European and its influences from southern Europe are particularly important.
The tradition of the gaucho
Gaucho
Gaucho is a term commonly used to describe residents of the South American pampas, chacos, or Patagonian grasslands, found principally in parts of Argentina, Uruguay, Southern Chile, and Southern Brazil...

 has been an important element in the art and folklore of both Uruguay and Argentina.

Visual arts



A prominent exponent of Afro-Uruguayan
Afro-Uruguayan
Afro-Uruguayan refers to Uruguayans of Black African ancestry. Almost a third is found in Montevideo.-History:It is often asserted in the academic literature on Uruguay that the presence and role of Africans in the development of this nation are overlooked. However, Afro-Uruguayans greatly...

 art is abstract painter and sculptor Carlos Páez Vilaró. He drew from both Timbuktu
Timbuktu
Timbuktu , formerly also spelled Timbuctoo, is a town in the West African nation of Mali situated north of the River Niger on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region, one of the eight administrative regions of Mali...

 and Mykonos
Mykonos
Mykonos is a Greek island, part of the Cyclades, lying between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. The island spans an area of and rises to an elevation of at its highest point. There are 9,320 inhabitants most of whom live in the largest town, Mykonos, which lies on the west coast. The town is also...

 to create his best-known work: his home, hotel and atelier
Atelier
Atelier is the French word for "workshop", and in English is used principally for the workshop of an artist in the fine or decorative arts.Atelier may also refer to:* The Atelier Method of art instruction...

 Casapueblo
Casapueblo
Casapueblo is the house of noted Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró located in Punta Ballena near Punta del Este, Uruguay. It is a homage to the artist's son Carlitos Paez, one of the sixteen survivors of the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571...

 near Punta del Este
Punta del Este
Punta del Este is a resort town on the Atlantic Coast in the Maldonado Department of southeastern Uruguay. It is located on the intersection of Route 10 with Route 39, directly southeast of the department capital Maldonado and about east of Montevideo...

. Casapueblo is a "livable sculpture" and draws thousands of visitors from around the world. The 19th-century painter Juan Manuel Blanes
Juan Manuel Blanes
Juan Manuel Blanes was a noted Uruguayan painter of the Realist school.-Life and work:Blanes was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1830. He was raised by his mother, with whom he relocated to the countryside in his early teens...

, whose works depict historical events, was the first Uruguayan artist to gain widespread recognition. The Post-Impressionist painter Pedro Figari
Pedro Figari
Pedro Figari was a Uruguayan painter, lawyer, writer, and politician. Although he did not begin the practice until his later years, he is best known as an early modernist painter who emphasized capturing the every-day aspects of life in his work...

 achieved international renown for his pastel studies of subjects in Montevideo and the countryside. Blending elements of art and nature the work of the landscape architect Leandro Silva Delgado has also earned international prominence.

Uruguay has a small but growing film industry and movies such as Whisky
Whisky (film)
Whisky is an Argentine-German-Spanish-Uruguayan tragicomedy film directed by Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll and released in 2004. The film stars Andrés Pazos, Mirella Pascual, Jorge Bolani, Ana Katz, and Daniel Hendler. It has very sparse dialogue and the three principal actors play very...

by Juan Pablo Rebella
Juan Pablo Rebella
Juan Pablo Rebella was an Uruguayan film director and screenwriter.He attended the Catholic University of Uruguay where he studied social communication, it was here that he started to direct short films and his collaboration with fellow student Pablo Stoll first began.After graduating in 1999 he...

 and Pablo Stoll
Pablo Stoll
Pablo Stoll is a Uruguayan film director and screenwriter.He attended the Catholic University of Uruguay where he studied Social communication, it was here that he started to direct short films and his collaboration with fellow student Juan Pablo Rebella first began...

 (2004), Marcelo Bertalmío's Los días con Ana (2000: "Days with Ana") and Ana Diez's Paisito (2008),about the 1973 military coup, have earned international honours.

Music



The folk and popular music of Uruguay shares not only its gaucho
Gaucho
Gaucho is a term commonly used to describe residents of the South American pampas, chacos, or Patagonian grasslands, found principally in parts of Argentina, Uruguay, Southern Chile, and Southern Brazil...

 roots with Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 but also those of the tango. One of the most famous tangos, La Cumparsita
La Cumparsita
"La cumparsita" is a musical piece written by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez, an Uruguayan musician, in 1916. It is among the most famous and recognizable tango songs of all time....

(1917), was written by the Uruguayan composer Gerardo Matos Rodríguez
Gerardo Matos Rodríguez
Gerardo Hernan Matos Rodríguez Montevideo, Uruguay, also known as Becho, was a Uruguayan musician, composer and journalist.-Background and early career:...

. The candombe
Candombe
Candombe is a musical genre that has its roots in the African Bantu, and is proper of Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil .Uruguayan Candombe is the most practiced and spread internationally and has been recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity...

 is a folk dance performed at Carnival
Carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

 mainly by Uruguayans of African ancestry. The guitar is the preferred musical instrument and, in a popular traditional contest called the payada two singers, each with a guitar, take turns improvising verses to the same tune. Numerous radio stations and musical events reflect the popularity of rock music and the Caribbean genres, known as música tropical ("tropical music"). Early classical music in Uruguay showed heavy Spanish and Italian influence but, since the 20th century, a number of composers of classical music including Eduardo Fabini, Vicente Ascone and Héctor Tosar have made use of Latin American musical idioms.

Rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 first broke into Uruguayan audiences with the arrival of British band The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 in the early 1960s. A wave of bands appeared in Montevideo, including Los Shakers
Los Shakers
Los Shakers were a popular rock band in 1960s and was a part of the Uruguayan Invasion in Latin America. The band was formed in 1963 in Montevideo, Uruguay. They were modeled after The Beatles and even adopted similar haircuts and clothing, as can be seen in their record cover. The band sang many...

, Los Mockers
Los Mockers
Los Mockers were a popular 1960s rock band in Latin America that was part of the Uruguayan Invasion. They modeled themselves off of the Rolling Stones and covered many of their songs . The band was formed in 1963 on Montevideo, Uruguay but moved to Argentina in 1966 after winning a contract with...

, Los Iracundos and Los Malditos, who became major figures in the so-called Uruguayan Invasion
Uruguayan Invasion
The Uruguayan Invasion was a musical phenomenon of the 1960s similar to the British Invasion, with rock bands from Uruguay gaining popularity in Argentina.-History:...

 of Argentina. Popular bands of the Uruguayan Invasion sang in English.

Literature




José Enrique Rodó
José Enrique Rodo
José Enrique Rodó Piñeyro was a Uruguayan essayist. He called for the youth of Latin America to reject materialism, to revert back to Greco-Roman habits of free thought and self enrichment, and to develop and concentrate on their culture.He cultivated an epistolary relationship with important...

 (1871–1917), a modernist, is considered Uruguay's most significant literary figure. His book Ariel (1900) deals with the need to maintain spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 values while pursuing material and technical progress. Besides stressing the importance of upholding spiritual over materialistic values, it also stresses resisting cultural dominance by Europe and the United States. The book continues to influence young writers. Notable amongst Latin American playwrights is Florencio Sánchez
Florencio Sánchez
Florencio Sánchez was a Uruguayan playwright, journalist and political figure. His artistic work unfolded in the River Plate region...

 (1875–1910) who wrote plays
Play (theatre)
A play is a form of literature written by a playwright, usually consisting of scripted dialogue between characters, intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. There are rare dramatists, notably George Bernard Shaw, who have had little preference whether their plays were performed...

 about contemporary social problems that are still performed today.

From about the same period came the romantic poetry of Juan Zorrilla de San Martín
Juan Zorrilla de San Martín
Juan Zorrilla de San Martín was a Uruguayan epic poet - he is referred as "National Poet of Uruguay" -and political figure . He is featured on the 20-peso note.-Well-known poems:...

 (1855–1931) who wrote epic poems about Uruguayan history
History of Uruguay
This is about the history of Uruguay.-Pre-Columbian times and colonization:The only documented inhabitants of Uruguay before European colonization of the area were the Charrua, a small tribe driven south by the Guaraní of Paraguay...

. Also notable are Juana de Ibarbourou
Juana de Ibarbourou
Juana Fernández Morales Vd.ª De Ibarbourou, also known as Juana de América, was a Uruguayan poet of Galician origin. She was one of the most popular poets of Spanish America...

 (1895–1979), Delmira Agustini
Delmira Agustini
Delmira Agustini , a Uruguayan poet, is considered one of the greatest female Latin American poets of the early 20th century.-Background:Born in Montevideo, the daughter of Italian immigrants, Agustini was a precocious child...

 (1866–1914), Idea Vilariño (1920–2009) and the short stories of Horacio Quiroga
Horacio Quiroga
Horacio Silvestre Quiroga Forteza was an Uruguayan playwright, poet, and short story writer....

. The psychological stories of Juan Carlos Onetti
Juan Carlos Onetti
Juan Carlos Onetti was an Uruguayan novelist and author of short stories.A high school drop-out, Onetti's first novel, El pozo, published in 1939, met with his close friends' immediate acclaim, as well as from some writers and journalists of his time...

 (such as No Man's Land and The Shipyard) have earned widespread critical praise, as have the writings of Mario Benedetti
Mario Benedetti
Mario Benedetti was an Uruguayan journalist, novelist, and poet....

.

Uruguay's best-known contemporary writer is Eduardo Galeano
Eduardo Galeano
Eduardo Hughes Galeano is a Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist. His best known works are Memoria del fuego and Las venas abiertas de América Latina which have been translated into twenty languages and transcend orthodox genres: combining fiction, journalism, political analysis, and...

, author of Las venas abiertas de América Latina (1971; "Open Veins of Latin America
Open Veins of Latin America
Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent is a book written by Uruguayan journalist, writer and poet Eduardo Galeano, and published in 1971.- Summary :...

") and the trilogy Memoria del fuego (1982–87; "Memory of Fire"). Other modern Uruguayan writers include Mario Levrero, Sylvia Lago, Jorge Majfud
Jorge Majfud
-Life:He was born in Tacuarembó, Uruguay. He majored in and in 1996 graduated from the in Montevideo. He travelled extensively to gather material that would later become part of his novels and essays, and was a professor at the of Costa Rica and at , where he taught art and mathematics.In 2003...

 and Jesús Moraes
Jesús Moraes
Jesús Moraes, , Uruguayan writer, born in Bella Unión, Artigas Department, Uruguay, who specializes in short stories.-Subject and nature of writings:...

. Uruguayans of many classes and backgrounds enjoy reading historietas, comic books that often blend humour and fantasy with thinly veiled social criticism.

Media


The Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

 worldwide press freedom index has ranked Uruguay as 37th of 178 reported countries in 2010. Freedom of speech and media are guaranteed by the constitution, with qualifications for inciting violence or "insulting the nation". Uruguayans have access to more than 100 private daily and weekly newspapers, more than 100 radio stations and some 20 terrestrial television channels and cable TV is widely available.

Uruguay's long tradition of freedom of the press was severely curtailed during the years of military dictatorship. On his first day in office in March 1985 Sanguinetti re-established complete freedom of the press. Consequently Montevideo's newspapers, which account for all of Uruguay's principal daily newspapers, greatly expanded their circulations.

State-run radio and TV are operated by the official broadcasting service SODRE. Some newspapers are owned by, or linked to, the main political parties. El Día was the nation's most prestigious paper until its demise in the early 1990s, founded in 1886 by the Colorado party leader and (later) president José Batlle y Ordóñez. El País, the paper of the rival Blanco Party, has the largest circulation. Búsqueda
Búsqueda
Búsqueda is a Uruguayan weekly newspaper published since 1972. It has national coverage and is printed on white tabloid paper; only advertisements are coloured. Búsqueda used to feature only political and economic news, but culture, science, health, humour and sports sections were added later...

is Uruguay's most important weekly news magazine and serves as an important forum for political and economic analysis. Although it sells only about 16,000 copies a week its estimated readership exceeds to 50,000. MercoPress
MercoPress
MercoPress is an independent online news agency based in Montevideo, Uruguay. It operates since 1996 and provides information focused on Latin America and the South Atlantic in general, with a particular emphasis on Mercosur member countries and covering the region's insular territories, mainly...

is an independent news agency focusing on news related to Mercosur
Mercosur
Mercosur or Mercosul is an economic and political agreement among Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Founded in 1991 by the Treaty of Asunción, which was later amended and updated by the 1994 Treaty of Ouro Preto. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people,...

 and is based in Montevideo.

Cuisine



Asado
Asado
Asado is a term used both for a range of barbecue techniques and the social event of having or attending a barbecue in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and southern Brazil. In the former countries asado is also the standard word for barbecue. An asado usually consists of beef alongside various...

 is a popular traditional dish in Uruguay, a kind of barbecued beef.

Beef
Beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

 is fundamental to Uruguayan cuisine and the country is one of the world's top consumers of red meat per capita. Popular foods include beef platters, steak
Steak
A steak is a cut of meat . Most are cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers, improving the perceived tenderness of the meat. In North America, steaks are typically served grilled, pan-fried, or broiled. The more tender cuts from the loin and rib are cooked quickly, using dry heat, and served whole...

 sandwiches (chivito
Chivito (sandwich)
Chivito is the name of a sandwich-style national dish in Uruguay, and consists primarily of a thin slice of filet mignon , with mayonnaise, black or green olives, mozzarella, tomatoes and commonly also bacon, fried or hardboiled eggs and ham. It is served in a bun, often with a side of French fries...

), pasta
Pasta
Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, now of worldwide renown. It takes the form of unleavened dough, made in Italy, mostly of durum wheat , water and sometimes eggs. Pasta comes in a variety of different shapes that serve for both decoration and to act as a carrier for the...

, barbecued kidneys and sausages.

Locally produced soft drinks, beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

, and wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 are commonly served, as is clericó, a mixture of fruit juice and wine. Uruguay and Argentina share a national drink called mate
Mate (beverage)
Mate , also known as chimarrão or cimarrón, is a traditional South American infused drink, particularly in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, southern states of Brazil, south of Chile, the Bolivian Chaco, and to some extent, Syria and Lebanon...

. Grappamiel, made with alcohol and honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, is served in the cold mornings of autumn and winter to warm up the body. Often locals can be seen carrying leather cases containing a thermos of hot water, the traditional hollowed gourd called a mate or guampa, a metal straw called a bombilla, and the dried yerba mate leaves. Sweet treats, including flans with dulce de leche
Dulce de leche
Dulce de leche is a thick,creamy, caramel-like milk-based sauce or spread.Literally translated, dulce de leche means "sweet from milk". It is prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a product that derives its taste from caramelised sugar. It is a popular sweet in Latin America, where...

and alfajores (shortbread cookies), are favorites for desserts or afternoon snacks.

Other Uruguayan dishes include: morcilla dulce, a type of blood sausage cooked with ground orange fruit, orange peel
Orange Peel
Orange Peel may refer to:*Orange Peel , an event held at Oklahoma State University*Orange Peel , a thoroughbred stallion*Orange Peel , a concert venue in Asheville, NC...

 and walnuts; chorizo
Chorizo
Chorizo is a term encompassing several types of pork sausages originating from the Iberian Peninsula.In English, it is usually pronounced , , or , but sometimes ....

, milanesa
Milanesa
The milanesa is a common meat dish mostly in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, as well as in other American countries to a lesser extent, where breaded meat fillet preparations are known as a milanesa The milanesa is a common meat...

, a breaded veal cutlet similar to the German weinersnitzel; snacks such as olímpicos (club sandwiches), húngaras (spicy sausage in a hot dog roll), and masas surtidas (bite-sized pastries).

Sport




Football is the most popular Sport in Uruguay. The first international match outside the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

 was played between Uruguay and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 in Montevideo in July 1902. Uruguay won gold at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games
Football at the 1924 Summer Olympics
At the 1924 Summer Olympics held in Paris, Uruguay dominated the Football tournament winning the Gold.-Amateur Status:In 1921, the Belgium Football Association first allowed for payments to players for time lost from work; in the months that followed four other Associations permitted similar...

, and again in 1928 in Amsterdam
Football at the 1928 Summer Olympics
Football at the 1928 Summer Olympics tournament, won by Uruguay against Argentina, would be the precursor to the first FIFA World Cup held in 1930 in Uruguay.-Medalists:-Background:...

.

The Uruguay national football team
Uruguay national football team
The Uruguayan national football team represents Uruguay in international association football and is controlled by the Uruguayan Football Association, the governing body for football in Uruguay. The current head coach is Óscar Tabárez...

 has won the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

 on two occasions. Uruguay won the inaugural tournament
1930 FIFA World Cup
The 1930 FIFA World Cup was the inaugural FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in Uruguay from 13 July to 30 July 1930...

 on home soil in 1930 and again in 1950
1950 FIFA World Cup
The 1950 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil from 24 June to 16 July, was the fourth FIFA World Cup. It was the first World Cup since 1938, the planned 1942 and 1946 competitions having been canceled owing to World War II...

, famously defeating
Uruguay V Brazil (World Cup 1950)
-Summary:The game began as form predicted: Brazilian attacks against the Uruguayan defensive line, for the majority of the first half. Unlike Spain and Sweden, however, the Uruguayans managed to maintain their defence and the first half ended scoreless....

 home favorites Brazil
Brazil national football team
The Brazil national football team represents Brazil in international men's football and is controlled by the Brazilian Football Confederation , the governing body for football in Brazil. They are a member of the International Federation of Association Football since 1923 and also a member of the...

 in the final. Uruguay has won the Copa América
Copa América
The Copa América —previously known as South American Championship—is an international football competition contested between the men's national teams of CONMEBOL, the sport's continental governing body...

 (an international tournament for South American nations and guests) more than any other country, their victory in 2011 made a total of 15 Copa Américas won. Uruguay has by far the smallest population of any country that has won a World Cup. Despite their early success they have only qualified for two of the last five World Cups. Uruguay performed very credibly in the 2010 FIFA World Cup
2010 FIFA World Cup
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national association football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010...

 having reached the semi-final for the first time in 40 years. Diego Forlán
Diego Forlán
Diego Forlán Corazo is an Uruguayan footballer who plays as a striker for Internazionale and the Uruguayan national team. He is a two-time winner of both the Pichichi Trophy and the European Golden Shoe, and also received the Golden Ball as the best player at the 2010 World Cup.Forlán was born...

 was presented with the Golden Ball award as the best player of the 2010 tournament.

Uruguay exported 1,414 football players during the 2000s, almost as many players as Brazil and Argentina. In 2010, the Uruguayan government enacted measures intended to retain players in the country.

Football was taken to Uruguay by English sailors and labourers in the late 19th century. Less successfully, they introduced cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

. The Montevideo-based football club Peñarol, who are successful in domestic and South American tournaments, was founded as the Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club
Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club
Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club was a Cricket and association football club from Uruguay. It was abbreviated as CURCC, but unofficially known as Peñarol because of the neighbourhood of Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, where it was established on September 28, 1891. CURCC was the result of...

.

Education



Education in Uruguay
Education in Uruguay
Education in Uruguay is compulsory for a total of nine years, beginning at the primary level, and is free from the pre-primary through the university level. In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 111.7 percent, and the net primary enrollment rate was 92.9 percent...

 is secular, free, and compulsory for 14 years, starting at the age of 4. The system is divided into six levels of education: early childhood (3–5 years); primary (6–11 years); basic secondary (12–14 years); upper secondary (15–17 years); higher education (18 and up); and post-graduate education.

Public education is the primary responsibility of three institutions: the Ministry of Education and Culture, which coordinates education policies, the National Public Education Administration, which formulates and implements policies on early to secondary education, and the University of the Republic, responsible for higher education. In 2009, the government planned to invest 4.5% of GDP in education.

Uruguay ranks high on standardised tests such as PISA
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

 at a regional level, but compares unfavourably to the OECD average, and is also below some countries with similar levels of income. In the 2006 PISA test, Uruguay had one of the greatest standard deviation
Standard deviation
Standard deviation is a widely used measure of variability or diversity used in statistics and probability theory. It shows how much variation or "dispersion" there is from the average...

s among schools, suggesting significant variability by socio-economic level.

Uruguay is part of the One Laptop Per Child project, and in 2009 became the first country in the world to provide a laptop for every primary school student, as part of the Plan Ceibal. Over the 2007–2009 period 362,000 pupils and 18,000 teachers were involved in the scheme; around 70% of the laptops were given to children who did not have computers at home. The OLPC programme represents less than 5% of the country's education budget.

See also


  • International rankings of Uruguay
    International rankings of Uruguay
    The following are international rankings of .-Culture :-Energy :*Total electricity consumption ranked 88th highest consumption-Environment :*Carbon dioxide emissions per capita ranked 125th highest emissions-Geography :-Government :...


  • List of Uruguayans
  • South America Life Quality Rankings
  • South America Life Quality Rankings - Economy and Finance
  • South America Life Quality Rankings - Law and Justice


Further reading

  • Andrew, G. R. (2010) Blackness in the White Nation: A History of Afro-Uruguay, The University of North Carolina Press
  • Behnke, A. (2009) Uruguay in Pictures, Twenty First Century Books
  • Box, B. (2011) Footprint Focus: Uruguay, Footprint Travel Guides
  • Burford, T. (2010) Bradt Travel Guide: Uruguay, Bradt Travel Guides
  • Canel, E. (2010) Barrio Democracy in Latin America: Participatory Decentralization and Community Activism in Montevideo, The Pennsylvania State University Press
  • Clark, G. (2008) Custom Guide: Uruguay, Lonely Planet
  • Jawad, H. (2009) Four Weeks in Montevideo: The Story of World Cup 1930, Seventeen Media
  • Lessa, F. and Druliolle, V. (eds.) (2011) The Memory of State Terrorism in the Southern Cone: Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Mool, M (2009) Budget Guide: Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Cybertours-X Verlag

External links